The Nittany Lions (16-4-2) suffered their second consecutive loss for the first time this season as they fell to Princeton 5-4 in Philadelphia.
How It Happened
Penn State and Princeton didn’t take long to get on the scoreboard, as both teams each tallied a goal with in the first two minutes of the game. Nittany Lion forward Andrew Sturtz scored at the 51 second mark after he exploded down the right wing past a Princeton defender and cut across the crease. Princeton’s Max Becker answered right back with a wrist shot from the top of the circle that beat goalie Peyton Jones blocker side.
Following a poor sequence of play, Penn State received a penalty for cross checking and Princeton made it pay. Tiger forward David Hallisey tipped a shot from Max Véronneau over the shoulder of Peyton Jones. Penn State countered with a power play goal of its own, as David Goodwin snuck the puck just inside the post at 10:46.
The Captain ties the game at 2 with this power play goal. pic.twitter.com/cVt7zH2x8a
— Onward State (@OnwardState) January 29, 2017
Three minutes later, Nittany Lion defenseman Kris Myllari gave Penn State its second lead of the game with a laser from the point. At the end of the first, Penn State led 3-2 and held a slight 16-13 shot advantage.
Penn State was able to escape potential mayhem early in the second, as Jones stopped a breakaway opportunity and the Nittany Lions were able to kill off a penalty. Unforced errors lead to several Princeton scoring opportunities but it was unable to convert. The Nittany Lions eventually picked up their game halfway through the period, leading to several great looks on net. Princeton’s goalie, Colton Phinney, came up with several big saves to keep them in the game. However, Penn State finally broke through with five minutes remaining and extended its lead to 4-2, as Sturtz floated in a backhander for his second goal of the evening and 17th on the season. At the end of two periods of play, Penn State led 4-2 and extended its shot advantage to 34-28.
The errors eventually caught up to Penn State in the third, as Princeton’s Liam Grande netted home a goal after several failed attempts to clear the puck by the Nittany Lions. Shortly after, Penn State conceded another goal on the penalty kill to Tiger forward David Hallisey. The score was tied 4-4. With 8:53 left in the period, Princeton gave Penn State a two man advantage after committing two penalties for high sticking and cross checking. This was the golden opportunity of the game. The Nittany Lions peppered Phinney, but were unable to punch one in. While pushing for a late go-ahead goal, Penn State let down its guard at the defensive end. With 1:26 remaining, Princeton forward Ben Foster deflected a shot into the top corner of the net. It went under review, as officials (and Jones, and the Roar Zone) thought the puck might’ve gone out of play before the goal. The goal stood, and the final score ended 5-4 in favor of Princeton.
- That puck went out of play, I don’t care what anyone says.
- If you let a team hang around, no matter how talented it is or isn’t, it’ll eventually climb back into the game. Penn State had a chance while up 4-2 to close this game out and failed to do so.
- The Nittany Lions need to clean up their game and stop taking penalties. Over the last three or four games, Penn State has taken uncharacteristic penalties and it has really hurts them on the scoreboard. As Penn State heads into the heart of the Big Ten schedule, the Nittany Lions need to be more disciplined if they want to succeed.
- Princeton’s goalie stood on his head. The scoreboard doesn’t do him justice at all because there could have been ten goals scored by Penn State tonight. Seemingly every great scoring chance Penn State had was countered by an even better save.
- Neutral Zone turnovers plagued Penn State through out this entire game. It halted momentum and generated scoring opportunities for Princeton.
- Princeton was the more aggressive team and won nearly every 50/50 battle in all three zones.
- Philly…pretty solid cheesesteaks.
The Nittany Lions will face a huge test next weekend, as they travel to Minneapolis to take on Big Ten foe No. 6 Minnesota.